Irresistible Coconut Caramel Chocolate Bars

Coconut caramel chocolate bars | jessicagavin.com #dessertrecipe

They say that we eat with our eyes first, if that’s true then I just demolished this irresistible gooey stack of coconut caramel chocolate bars, drool. I’m going to warn you now, the recipe I’m going to tempt you with is for the true chocolate and caramel lovers. If you’re also a fan of coconut then you are really in for a treat!

Have you noticed it’s already the season where those sweet and savvy girl scouts are working outside the grocery stores selling those yummy green boxes of goodies. I finally caved and bought a box or two, haha who’s counting anyway. I was inspired by one cookie flavor in particular and wanted to experiment with it as a cookie bar version. These oatmeal cookie bars are like those awesome Girl Scout toasted coconut and chocolate drizzled Samoa cookies that have jumped in a pool of rich golden caramel, oh yes I did go there…. 

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Savory Irish Shepherds Pie with Lamb

Plate full of delicious shepherds pie with lamb bites | jessicagavin.com #recipe

When you think of comfort food what comes to mind? For me, anything with mashed potatoes! Every year I ask my hubby Jason what he wants me to make for Saint Patrick’s day (he’s half Irish), and luckily the verdict this year is… Shepherds pie! How could I deny him of a rich and flavorful stew topped with creamy mashed potatoes? I decided to go with a shepards pie with lamb instead of ground beef, to make the dish a little heartier. Not to mention, we definitely like our lamb recipes at the Gavin household!… 

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Luscious Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart

Dark chocolate salted caramel peanut tart dessert

It’s dangerous keeping any kind of chocolate in my house. If it’s a chip, kiss or truffle, I will seek and destroy (eat quickly and hope no one is watching). Sometimes you just have to have it, so I wanted to treat my friends at work (and me too) for a decadent chocolate indulgence. When I opened the box to reveal my sinful creation, I got a resounding “ooohhhhh ahhhhh”. I knew I had hit the wow factor jackpot and I knew they would love the taste of this luscious dark chocolate salted caramel tart even more…. 

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Caramelized Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

Caramelized Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis | jessicagavin.com

My husband and I are big Hell’s Kitchen fans, especially since it reminds me of working the grill station during culinary school which I often miss, pure adrenaline rush! I feel like every season, the cooks are bringing up raw or rubbery scallops to the pass for Chef Ramsey, resulting in lots of profanity and plate slamming. Needless to say, I wanted to see for myself just how difficult it was to make beautiful caramelized scallops.

I used Thomas Keller’s simple and essential technique to accomplish perfectly cooked scallops. I swear, it really is simple, it just requires you to keep an eye on the cooking as scallops are done within minutes. I served these caramelized scallops with a curried roasted red pepper coulis, and my husband had a huge grin on his faced with each bite, and I hope you will too!… 

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White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies | jessicagavin.com #cookierecipe

I am a grown up cookie monster! There is something so irresistible about those simple, yet enticing rounds of happiness. I swear I can spot a cookie from a mile away, especially if someone leaves them out at work to “share” aka bring them in to the office so they don’t devour all of them at home. I am certainly guilty of being that person, spread the love right?

And how about those sneaky Girl Scout cookies that pop up around this time, thin mints are my soft spot. But of all the cookies out there in the sweet delicious world, there is something about the ones rolled in cinnamon and sparkly sugar… like a mini churro bite. Have you tried white chocolate snickerdoodle cookies? If not, the time is now my friend!… 

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Panko Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Vegetables

Panko Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Vegetables | jessicagavin.com #recipe

My husband Jason and I have celebrated over 10 Valentine’s days together… probably more but I’ve started to lose count, ha! I love you sweetie! We’ve definitely done the fancy dinners at steak houses, some good then some okay. You know the ones where everyone is packed in like sardines, offered an overpriced prix fix menu and rushed through it for the next seating, soooo romantic!

Times have changed now that we have baby James joining us for our romantic date, I plan to light some candles, put on a Marvin Gaye vinyl record and cook an awesome feast at home! This Valentines Day treat calls for a mouthwatering panko herb crusted rack of lamb with fresh vegetables. Followed by one heart-shaped box of chocolates provided by my husband (wink wink I hope you’re reading this Jason!)…. 

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Individual Beef Wellington with Mushroom Sauce

Individual Beef Wellington with Mushroom Sauce | jessicagavin.com

Whenever I think of a fancy “let’s go out” date night restaurant meal, beef wellington is an old school classic that is on top of my list. Everything about this dish screams indulgence; tender and juicy pan seared filet mignon topped with a savory mushroom duxelle, wrapped in proscuitto, and then wrapped again in a blanket of golden brown crispy puff pastry, drool!

After watching one too many episodes of Hell’s Kitchen when every cook finds a way to ruin those beautiful pastry packages of meat, I knew I had to get off of my couch and get in the kitchen. I needed to make this delicacy at home for me and the hubby since going out for an expensive meal is not on the radar anytime soon. Life choices… day care or fancy restaurant..hmm. I decided to take some time to make us some delicious individual beef wellington with mushroom sauce right in our own home! Thank goodness I didn’t have Gordon Ramsey peaking over my shoulder, just baby James!… 

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Haricot Verts with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

haricot verts with mushrooms and caramelized onions | jessicagavin.com

I’m in need of some fresh vegetables in my life, because yes I’m still recovering from the holiday feasts. Have you met the string beans french cousin haricot verts? Kinda like the new hot foreign exchange student in high school, these long, slender and crisp beauties are a little more sleek and sexy than your typical bean. These haricot verts with mushrooms and caramelized onions will steal the dinnertime show!… 

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Delicious Harvest Apple Cookies Recipe

Delicious Harvest Apple Cookies Recipe | jessicagavin.com

I am not quite willing to quit the December cookie season yet, so what’s a girl to do? I saw this amazing peanut butter apple oatmeal cookie recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod one morning as I was sifting through my emails. Needless to say I could not stop drooling!

I was literally so inspired to the point that I had to make the cookies that same day, immediately, like right now (thanks Maria!). I also had a long night of wake up calls from my boss – baby James, so I needed a little sugar in my life.

Luckily I had all the ingredients in my pantry and then some, whoot! So I was on my way to make some glorious fresh baked harvest apple cookies… oh yeah!… 

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Herb Stuffed Mushrooms with Sausage

Herb Stuffed Mushrooms with Sausage Bites | jessicagavin.com

Wow, do you feel like the holidays came in and went like a hurricane? or more like Miley Cyrus’s wrecking ball? (I had to go there) My house certainly looks like a Tasmanian devil ripped through it leaving no prisoners, just lot’s of torn up wrapping paper and dried up pine needles. This year was intense and fun time for the Gavin Family, we hosted our first big Thanksgiving and Christmas party for our family and friends and I was firing on all cylinders trying to pump out all that food. Now I’m beat! Although no matter how exhausted I am from shopping, cooking and feasting, I get really excited about the coming of a brand spanking new, shiny, new car smelling year!

I always look forward to New Years festivities because it gives everyone a fresh start. You get a chance to erase all those lines you made on your life’s big Magna Doodle and start a blank page. As you get ready to give one last hearty festive push for a reason to party hardy, you definitely don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen the entire time while your guests get ready to count down with Ryan Seacrest. For your most amazing New Years bash, how about a quick, simple and delicious herb stuffed mushrooms with sausage recipe for an appetizer? I’m in! … 

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